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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Happy Face: 1911

Happy Face: 1911

August 1911. New Bedford, Massachusetts. "A group of workers in the Butler Mills. Kate McCormick, 10 Cleveland Street, the smallest girl in the picture, apparently 13 years old. The happy faces appear only when the photo is being taken." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Oh the disappointment

The nigh-palpable disappointment in Mr. Hines' commentary nearly oozes off the screen. Underprivileged kids, working, should be solid gold. And then they go and SMILE! AAAAUGH! Rotten kids.

Step Kids

They certainly don't look like forced smiles. I love the demeanor of the girl in the middle with her hands on her hips.

Let me go find a tissue...

Dave, are you just trying to make us depressed with all these pictures of dirty, underprivileged, underage workers and children? Because it's working.

[Dirty? Depressing? I don't see that here. - Dave]

What's really going on here?

According to Hine, they only smile for the birdie, I think he was wrong. These kids smiled because they thought it was fun to have their picture taken. This doesn't diminish the fact that at 13 years their school career was over and that they would work hard the rest of their lives. However we are a nation of optimists. Facing these young people was a World War in which some these boys would surely serve and a depression, that would affect everyone followed by another World War. Yet, we survived, as the strongest, most prosperous and just country ever.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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